LETHBRIDGE, AB – Hockey Canada announced on Friday that the City of Lethbridge, Alberta has been awarded the 2005 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge that will run from to .
This prestigious hockey event features the best under-17 hockey players in the world and is a stepping-stone for many young players striving to play for Canada's national teams or in the National Hockey League.
The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is made up of 10 international teams. Canada is represented by five regional teams: Team Pacific, Team Western, Team Ontario, Team Quebec and Team Atlantic. Also invited to participate in the event are five international teams: Slovakia, Finland, Germany, Russia and USA.
Canada has hosted the event since it’s inception in 1995. Every fourth year, the tournament takes a break as the top under 17 Canadian players represent their province at the Canada Winter Games. Such was the case in 2003 when Bathurst/Campbellton, NB hosted the 2003 Canada Winter Games from February 22 to .The last U-17 World Hockey Challenge was held in 2002, hosted by Stonewall/Selkirk, Manitoba.
The Under-17 Program is an integral part of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge gives players an opportunity to experience high calibre hockey, while also preparing themselves for possible selection for the National Under-18 Team and the National Junior Team.
" This event has grown tremendously over the past few years and it continues to become bigger and better each year," said Johnny Misley, Vice-President of Hockey Operations for Hockey Canada. "The Canadian contingent in this event is remarkable which is an excellent breeding group for our National Under-18 Program and our National Junior Program."
Canada's 2004 National Junior Selection Camp Roster boasts 27 under-17 alumni; Maxime Daigneault (2001), Josh Harding (2001), Andre Benoit (2001), Kevin Klein (2001), Braydon Coburn (2001), Derek Meech (2001), Jeremy Swanson (2001), Jeff Tambellini (2001), Ian White (2001), Maxime Talbot (2001) , Tim Brent (2001), Daniel Paille (2001), Adam Courchaine (2001), Adam Henrich (2001), Stephen Dixon (2002), Shawn Belle (2002), Dion Phaneuf (2002), Brent Seabrook (2002), Jeremy Colliton (2002), Anthony Stewart (2002), Jeff Carter (2002), Mike Richards (2002), Eric Fehr (2002), Ryan Getzlaf (2002), Nigel Dawes (2002), Corey Perry (2002), and Sidney Crosby (2003 – CWG).
This event has seen many NHL'ers through the years, including Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay Lightning) Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers), Joe Thornton (Boston Bruins), Roberto Loungo (Florida Panthers), Radek Bonk (Ottawa Senators), Eric Brewer (Edmonton Oilers) and Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins).
Loren Krukowski, President of Hockey Alberta, is excited about hosting the event, "Hockey Alberta is very proud to host this prestigious event again in Alberta. In 1997 Red Deer did a great job of setting the standard for hosting this International Challenge and we are confident that Lethbridge ant this very capable Host Committee will again raise the bar for this event in Canada."
" We are delighted that Hockey Canada has chosen Lethbridge, Alberta to host this prestigious international event," said Lorenz Bohnert, Chair of the 2005 Host Committee. "This is an excellent opportunity to promote minor hockey in our city and province and we are looking forward to hosting a world class event."
Tournament format includes a round robin of two five-team pools, with the top two teams from each pool facing off in semi-finals. Both semi-final winners will play each other to determine the world champion.